I so wanted to copy the GBBO format and give you a floral themed (sorry, botanical) bake and well, I ended up kind of giving you something botanical. This is my classic lemon tart. I love this recipe so much. It uses my never fail pastry I often bang on about. I hope you like it. READ MORE
Okay so this is a slightly disjointed blog post. I have a few things to tell you. First up, let’s focus on the recipe in hand. That’s most likely why you’re here. So I developed this eton mess butterfly cupcake recipe for Aldi for a little piece they did about street parties. You can watch the video here if you like. I also have the recipes for the sausage rolls and quiche too, but that’ll have to wait for another day. READ MORE
I have so much going on I can barely stop to talk. I really hate it when people do this – tell you how busy they are and then waste 15 precious minutes talking about their stress when they could be tacking their to do list. So I won’t. Instead I will just offer up something that is simply amazing. I don’t even like egg nog (the drink) but I do like these. Oh yes I do.
(P.S. If you are wondering about the other truffles in the picture then I also made orange truffles using this recipe and then rolled them in crushed Oreos. I used the same recipe to make coconut truffles, subbing the orange extract for Malibu and then rolling in desiccated coconut. I also rolled some egg nog truffles in nutmeg spiked icing sugar. They all keep for 1 week from making, provided your double cream has a use by date that doesn’t come before that. Keep in the fridge and bring to room temperature for 1 hour pre serving. And please, if you want to temper your chocolate then go ahead and do it, I just don’t have the time at the moment, nor to explain it. You may get a bloom on your chocolate coating if you don’t temper. It’s fine, it will still taste the same. Just sprinkle with more nutmeg. Did I mention how busy I am?)
Egg nog truffles
Makes about 30
Melt the chocolate, cream, brandy, nutmeg and cinnamon in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, being careful not to let the bowl touch the water. Stir until completely smooth then chill for about 2 hours until hard.
Take a teaspoon and remove heaped spoons of the truffle mixture. Roll between your hands to form spheres. Place on a plate covered in non-stick paper and chill again for another hour.
Melt the chocolate using the same method as before. Dip each truffle into the chocolate using a spoon and fork. Drain as much chocolate from the truffle as possible and transfer to a tray lined with greaseproof paper. Grate a little nutmeg over each truffle. Leave to set either at room temperature or in the fridge, though be aware a bloom is more likely to develop on the chocolate if you use the faster fridge method.
I have a love hate relationship with all things twee. I am partial to a Cath Kidston peg bag and indeed, make up bag. But I don’t have the stomach for the full retro look complete with 1950s kitchen and lack of labour saving devices. I like my own time too much. I don’t hanker after a mangle that’s for sure.
I do rather like Bonne Maman jam jars washed out and filled with tea lights. Or even better washed out and filled with whipped cream, meringue kisses and fresh blueberries. Turns out they’re the almost perfect way to travel with blueberry mess. So if you’re planning a little picnic love this summer then consider the humble jam jar. Even kind to the environment what with this being a lovely way of recycling.
Two years ago: Teacher’s pet chocolate and hazelnut oaty biscuits and Spelt loaf and Vanilla cupcakes
Three years ago: Restorative chicken and leek risotto
Blueberry mess jam jars
Serves 2, scale up as required
Just layer the mess up in clean jam jars (think about separating the meringue from the cream if travelling a long distance to lessen the soggy meringue issue) and then pop into the picnic hamper, not forgetting the spoons and napkins. A nice bottle of very well chilled cava cuts through a mess like a dream.
About 10 years ago I briefly went out with a chap who owned a company that made and supplied soup to some very important places. He was what one might call a blessed man, everything he touched turned to gold. And he was wise. Annoyingly, him being wise wasn’t annoying.
The one thing that sticks out in my mind about him was his belief that everything that’s good in the world is simple. So a great soup should be a combination of simple ingredients and simple flavours. A rosette worthy cake should be a simple affair; carrot cake was his favourite I seem to recall. And a great relationship should be simple, not too much like hard work. Which is probably why he finished things with me, for we were not a natural, simple fit.
This chocolate ganache tart is a simple thing. All crunch and crumble and velvet smoothness in your mouth, probably best enjoyed with something very simple like a bowl of raspberries or a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.
One more thing I remembered. He never made me a bowl of soup. Not once. I feel cheated.
Chocolate ganache tart
– 250g plain flour
– 50g icing sugar
– 125g butter
– 1 large egg
– 300mls double cream
– 50g salted butter, cubed
– 100g dark chocolate, finely chopped
– 100g milk chocolate, finely chopped
Make the pastry by rubbing the butter into the flour and icing sugar (use hands/food processor or KitchenAid on speed 1/2 using flat beater) until you have a breadcrumb like consistency. Then bind together with the egg using either a blunt knife or the flat beater at speed 1 on the KitchenAid. Once you have clumps of pastry pulling together, use your hands to gather into a ball. Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Roll the pastry to a thickness of about 3mm and line a 23cm loose bottomed tart tin with it. (I move the pastry by laying both hands under the pastry with palms upwards and fingers spread wide.) Make sure the pastry is pushed into the corners, then run the rolling pin over the top of the tart tin to trim the pastry edges. Line the pastry with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans/uncooked rice or pulses. Bake in a preheated 180C/Gas 4 oven for 15 minutes then remove the beans and paper and bake until lightly golden brown and baked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool but leave in the tin.
Make the ganache by boiling the cream in a small saucepan until just boiling. Do not allow to boil for long or the ganache will be grainy. Then add the butter and chocolate and stir until completely smooth. Pour into your blind baked pastry case and leave to set, either on the side at room temperature overnight for a soft set. Or in the fridge which is a lot faster and achieves a hard set. If you use the fridge method the tart will lose a little of its shine though taste not compromised.
NB: Please excuse the rubbish pic. It was taken at QVC where the lighting is great for TV but not so great for photographing food.
A trifle just for the summer. I know it’s a little early but a girl can dream…
All comments gratefully received. Here are some Eastery recipes you might like too:
Raspberry and elderflower trifle
Make the elderflower jelly by heating the cordial to boiling point in a saucepan and adding the gelatine leaves (squeezed of water) then stirring until dissolved. Add 150mls cold water then leave to cool a little.
Place the cake sponge in the bottom of a trifle bowl and pour over the 4 tbsp liqueur/cordial. Then cover with the raspberries leaving a few out for decorating. Pour the jelly over the top and then pop in the fridge to set. Once set pour the cold custard over the top, allow to level and pop back in the fridge. Whip the double cream and liqueur to medium peaks using the wire whisk attachment in your Kitchen Aid (or with a whisk) and then spoon over the top of the custard and add raspberries.
Most of the time I don’t want anyone to mess with my Cadbury creme egg. Oh no siree. I want it plain and unadulterated. A little tear of the foil with my fingernail, a timid peel, then a scramble to get the egg out; naked.
We all know the way you eat your egg says so much about you. Me? In the way I seem to approach everything in life, I start off trying to be demure – positively French about it in fact. Nibbling away in a ladylike fashion. Then the girl from the Midlands in me rises to the top and I shove the whole thing in my mouth. And then I reach for another. I’ve never been good at rationing.
So here I am messing with the mighty Cadbury creme egg. I think I’ll make an exception for this dessert though. It’s Eton mess without any Old Etonians or raspberries. I do love a raspberry, but it’s Easter so the creme egg rules.
All comments gratefully received. Here are some other Eastery recipes you might like too:
Cadbury creme egg mess
Makes enough for 4
Firstly imagine someone were carrying some eggs, whipped double cream and honeycomb in a large bag and then dropped it quite violently – this is the thought I am channeling to make this dessert. You need to make the honeycomb at least an hour ahead but when it comes to assembly this is a last minute thing. Honeycomb and moisture (like the moisture found in double cream) are not best pals. Honeycomb starts to go soggy quickly so assemble and serve. Luckily this is so quick and easy to assemble that shouldn’t be an issue. Oh and store your honeycomb in a tin and not in the fridge. The fridge makes it weep.
To make the honeycomb line a roasting pan with foil making sure it goes up the sides. Then melt the sugar, syrup and butter in a large saucepan on the hob for about 5 minutes until golden brown. Don’t stir – swirl the pan if bits of it are catching. And whatever you do, don’t touch the contents of the pan – it will get very very hot. Once golden brown add the bicarbonate of soda and stir quickly with a wooden spoon – it will fizz up. Then pour straight into the lined tin. Don’t bang the tin or touch the honeycomb as it is A & E hot. Put the pan in the sink and fill with hot water but stand back as it will fizz and spit a bit. Leave to set for a few hours then once cool either smash up with a rolling pin or whizz up in a food processor.
Now assemble your Cadbury creme egg mess. Layer honeycomb, Cadbury creme egg splats and whipped cream at least twice in a glass or sundae dish then top with a broken Cadbury creme egg and some honeycomb shards. Serve and sit back and enjoy, for Easter comes but once a year.
Things haven’t been great recently. That’s an understatement. I want to be one of those women who’s brave and pulls stoic faces when asked if she’s okay. Instead I cry and rub mascara over my puffy red rimmed eyes. After possibly the Worst Weekend ever, yesterday I managed to lock myself in the back garden. Yep. Quite a feat. I was trying to be upbeat and happy at the rays of sunshine beating down and so with washing basket in hand began putting all the wet clothes out. Because when clothes smell of fresh air everything feels better.
Five minutes later I’m trying to force the back door. As I’d shut it somehow the key I’d left in it (stupid, stupid, stupid thing to do) had turned and then fallen to the floor – inside the house. Locked out, in the back garden, with no phone and the only exit a locked 6ft gate framed by thorny trees.
Well I surprised myself. For a girl picked last for every netball and hockey match of my youth I did a pretty good job of climbing and jumping and running to a neighbour’s house. I was wasted on netball. I did cry though. Stoic I am not.
Comments, as always, welcomed. And yes, this is the meringue layer cake I made on QVC. I think it would be perfect for Mother’s Day.
Lemon & coconut meringue layer stack
Whisk your egg whites until beginning to hold their peaks. Then whisk in 1 teaspoon of the castor sugar at a time. I know this is laborious but if you rush it and throw the lot in you’re less likely to make sure it all dissolves into the egg and you might end up with weeping meringue. Might.
Once the sugar’s all in, the mixture should look really white and glossy, then add in the cornflour and white wine vinegar. Whisk again. The combination of these ingredients makes for a mallowy chewy middle to your meringue so whilst they’re desirable they’re not a reason to run to the local shops if you don’t have them.
Pop some foil or baking parchment on 3 baking trays, fixing down with a little sticky meringue. Then spoon a third of the meringue onto each tray and use the back of a spoon to rub into a flat circle shape. Try to get the circles about the same size.
Bake in a preheated oven at 140C, as soon as they go into the oven turn it down to about 100C, or 90C for a fan. Then after 45 minutes turn the oven off entirely but don’t open it.
About 35 minutes into baking I tend to open the oven door and have a little prod to make sure the oven has worked it’s magic and the outsides of the meringue are hard. If not they need a little longer than the aforementioned 45 minutes. Then I DO NOT OPEN the oven for the last ten minutes of baking. I turn the oven off and then leave the little snowy meringues to slowly come to room temperature for a few hours. Easier to just make these last thing at night and leave them until the morning in your oven.
Once completely cold use a little lemon curd to fix the largest meringue to your serving plate, then spread with more curd. Whip the double cream and add a third of it then sprinkle with a little coconut. Pop another meringue layer on the top and add lemon curd, cream and coconut and then repeat with the last meringue. Add a few raspberries and serve at once. This dessert does not like to be left about – beware collapse! Happy Mother’s Day all you Mums. x
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